The decrease in retention capacity and executive functions have been the most affected parameters and with greater rapidity.
The negative health effects of eating food ultra-processed It is an aspect that has been pointed out for years. It does not only affect health cardiovascular or the potential development of tumor processes, such as colorectal cancer, but it has also been pointed out as a greater risk factor for early death.
Numerous studies have highlighted that people who follow a diet rich in ultra-processed foods -formulations industrial made from substances derived from food or additives, such as sugary drinks, pre-cooked foods, industrial pastries, processed meats, cookies, sweetened dairy products, refined cereals, among others- have a risk significantly more to develop dementia and vascular dementia.
This association, published last July in Neurologywas observed in a prospective study that analyzed more than 72,000 people who consume a diet with a higher level of foods of these characteristics.
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Epidemic of ultra-processed foods: what they are, how they affect you and why you should stop eating them
now a new researchputs the focus on the cognitive declinean aspect less studied, indicating that a higher percentage of daily energy consumption of ultra-processed foods has been associated with cognitive decline.
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The latest findings, published by JAMA Neurologyhave been obtained from the analysis of 10,775 adults that has been carried out by the team Natalia Gonalvesof the Faculty of Medicine of the University of So Paulo, in Brazilwho considers that these “support the current recommendations of Public Health on the consumption limitation of ultra-processed foods due to its potential damage to cognitive function“.
The researcher, who already gave clues to this detrimental relationship between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and cognitive deficiencies at the last Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC2022) held in San Diego, California, United States, now confirms that in the sample of adults analyzed, ethnically diverse, “It has been observed that a higher percentage of daily energy consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with cognitive decline.
This prospective study that evaluates the longitudinal association between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and cognitive deterioration has been carried out through the participation of the people studied in the study. Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brazil) and what have been evaluated and followed for more than 9 years.
For them, questionnaires of food frequency to assess the consumption of ultra-processed foods as a percentage of total daily caloric intake. The changes in the tests, of memory and executive functionswere analyzed over time, with a follow-up of between 6 and 10 years.
Around the 28% of daily caloric intake of the people who participated came, on average, from the consumption of processed foods and the highest intake of these was related to the decline of executive function and memory performance, which according to the research team underscores “the impact that a style of healthy life on brain performance”.
For Carmen Romero Ferreiroof the Research and Scientific Support Unit of the Research Institute Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre Y Professor of the Degree in Nutrition at the Francisco de Vitoria Universitythis work is, without a doubt, a “further advance in the knowledge of the negative effect of ultra-processed foods on health, in this case in cognitive aspects. It is the first study that relates the consumption of ultra-processed foods to cognitive deterioration”, he points out to SMC.
In his opinion, the results suggest that people with the highest consumption of ultra-processed foods have cognitive impairment faster in time. Specifically, “they report a rate of deterioration a 28% faster compared to those who consume least amount of ultra-processed foods. Since intact cognitive function is key to successful aging, these results highlight the need to reduce consumption of this type of food to maintain health.
However, and although the methodology used is good and takes into account the main confounding factors, there are some limitations. For example, “only collected diet data at baseline of the study and not throughout the follow-up, thus ignoring the possible changes in eating habits that the subjects could have”.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism